Could a taxpayer love BIR’s Henares?

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

KIM HENARES, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief, must know that tax collectors are mostly unpopular.

In biblical times, they were lumped with sinners who, Matthew says, must be shunned if they were unrepentant. Jesus though broke bread with tax collectors and pagans, explaining to Pharisees that the sick, not the healthy, needed the healing.

Kim has lately been berated by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) over the BIR print ad showing a doctor resting on a teacher's shoulders and saying that if doc doesn't pay the right taxes, she's a burden to ma'm.


BIR says a doctor who earned over P1 million a year paid only P7,000 while a teacher with P852,000 annual salary paid P222,000.

The figures didn't show extent of tax evasion among doctors. PMA assailed the generalizing. Not all doctors are rich and not all of them cheat.

And why pick only on doctors?

BIR does not. Lined up are other ads showing accountants and online merchants. And earlier, Kim targeted other professionals by requiring their fees posted in clinics and offices.

BIR must have stats about doctors cheating on their taxes. Thus the weapon of choice: not just the usual pat-on-the-back but the shaming game, which wounds but may rake in the unpaid taxes.

Name, shame

A local mayor once gave "kalabasa" (squash) awards to non-taxpayers to shame them into paying taxes to the city.

Kim tapped the "bato-bato-sa-langit" teasing that mostly children and rumor-mongers use. Honest taxpayers wouldn't mind if BIR would sue cheaters not struck by heaven's stones.

No, not all taxpayers hate Henares.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 06, 2014.


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